The Pittsburgh Steelers will be without running backs Rashard Mendenhall and Jonathan Dwyer on Sunday when they face the New York Giants so they will be forced to turn to Isaac Redman, who began the season as the starter.
The potential Sunday success of Redman, who has missed the last two games due to an ankle injury, could be powered by four important factors that all begin with the letter \’H\’, and here they are.
Health – Redman has had issues with his ankles all season as he sprained the left one during the preseason and the right one a few weeks back against the Titans, in a game that saw him record over a 100 yards receiving. The latest injury forced him to miss the last two games, so there is a little concern as to how the down time may have affected him. That being said, the former undrafted running back out of Bowie State has been able to practice fully this past week after being mostly limited the week before. The ability of Redman to be able to cut at an acceptable level could play a big part in whether or not he has success behind a Steelers offensive line that appears to be gelling together nicely, especially in the run blocking department.
Hunger – Had Dwyer not injured his quad late in the game last week against the Washington Redskins, he would be starting the game Sunday against the Giants instead of Redman. Redman has rushed 50 times this season for only 127 yards and another poor performance on Sunday will lead several to wonder if he will ever be more than just a short yardage type of back. Redman has to be hungry on Sunday against the Giants and prove that deserves a helmet each and every week moving forward and that the disappointing results from early on in the season were a result of him not being 100% and the offensive line not playing up to snuff. Redman\’s future with the team after this season could very well come down to how he performs as the starter Sunday. You only get so many chances to prove yourself as a running back in the NFL and Redman is slowly running out of them.
Herzlich – The Giants will not have middle linebacker Chase Blackburn on the field Sunday as he was ruled out on Friday with a hamstring injury. With Blackburn down the Giants will turn to Mark Herzlich, a free agent out of Boston College that went undrafted in 2011 because of a rare form of bone cancer. Herzlich has only started two games for the Giants and those starts came last season before he was sidelined by a severely sprained ankle. That injury led to the Giants bringing back Blackburn, who helped power the team all the way to the Super Bowl. You can\’t help but think that there will be a noticeable drop-off in the middle with Herzlich making his first start of the season.
Hometown – Sunday will be a homecoming of sorts for Redman, who grew up in Paulsboro, New Jersey, which is just over 100 miles away from MetLife Stadium, where the Steelers will take on the Giants. Back in high school, Redman led the Paulsboro High Red Raiders to a 35-0 record as a starter while rushing for over 5,000 yards. You would have to think that he has had several ticket request from friends and family for this game and he certainly doesn\’t want to disappoint those that are in attendance to watch him play.